Established in the Greater Baton Rouge area in 1990, Teach For America South Louisiana has partnered with communities to tackle the barriers that stand between children and opportunities. We take pride in our festivals, our food, and our culture, but we are especially proud of the resilient spirit woven into the fabric of our region. As the location of the first bus boycott of the Civil Rights Era, the South Louisiana region has a rich heritage filled with courageous visionaries committed to moving our communities forward through collective change.
Given our own commitment to the growth of our community, Teach For America South Louisiana has been dedicated to developing the leaders and coalitions required for children to gain access to the education they deserve.
In recent years, we have seen a diverse group of leaders across Louisiana come together to tackle the inequities plaguing our systems. Teach For America and the South Louisiana community came together almost 30 years ago to bolster the efforts that were already underway to end educational inequity and expand excellent opportunities for more students. Today more than 300 Teach For America leaders are working alongside our urban and rural communities proving every year that all South Louisiana students can achieve at the highest levels.
As our region enters the greatest period of economic growth since the late ‘90s, we find ourselves within a modern-day movement toward social change. A growing number of organizations across our region are working to address the historical causes of challenges—racial and socioeconomic disparities. In partnership with educators and advocates of all backgrounds, we’re proud of the role Teach For America leaders have consistently played in passionately ensuring access and opportunity for students in South Louisiana from inside and outside the classroom. Our connected community is reaching unprecedented growth in bringing children the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals.
Today, our nine alumni school leaders and more than 150 classroom leaders are impacting thousands of children in our community each day. At the same time, Teach For America leaders are working in various ways to bring innovative improvements to the systems that impact children. Some leading non-profits that address community needs, some working as advocates to build effective coalitions, and some working in the Louisiana Department of Education to create policies and laws that will change the trajectory of Louisiana students.
When diverse, committed leaders come together to solve an issue, incredible things can happen—our network is proof of it.
Living in South Louisiana is an experience like no other. Whether it's our unique food, upbeat music, or the people that are the heart of our community, this culture is one you will find hard to forget. Like a pot of gumbo, we’re a little bit of everything thrown together to create something one of a kind and incredibly resilient.
Spanning four Louisiana parishes, the South Louisiana region offers you a variety of lifestyles. Since it's an urban and rural region, you can choose to live in a small community or within the city limits of Baton Rouge. Whether you choose to relax on False River in Pointe Coupee, enjoy Louisiana’s 400 festivals, or attend events at one of our local universities, there are a number of opportunities for you to find the experience that feeds your soul.
One of the amazing things about the opportunity to work in a rural community is that because the populations are smaller, corps members can build close relationships with their students, their students’ families, their principals, and even their superintendents. This isn’t always possible in much larger urban school districts. The level of relationship that can be developed, gives corps members access to opportunities to participate in and shape programs, structures, and policies within their school district in ways that aren’t always possible for beginning teachers in larger school districts.
Some of our corps members teach within East Baton Rouge (EBR) Parish school district where they have the opportunity to work close to the seat of our state government in the capital city of Baton Rouge. Here, students and families have access to an array of public charter, magnet, and traditional public schools.
Outside of teaching, many corps members volunteer with one of our local nonprofits, BRYC, which is currently led by a TFA alumnus and employs many TFA SLA alumni. And many of our CMs coach sports and lead extracurricular activities within their schools.
Where We Work
East Baton Rouge Parish
East Baton Rouge Parish
Named by French explorers as "the Red Stick City," Baton Rouge is where Louisiana's capital, two major universities, and distinctive Cajun and Creole cultures all come together. Baton Rouge is the fifth largest city on the Mississippi River and home to Louisiana's largest parish. Strategically seated at the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Baton Rouge area's assets are integral to the nation's logistics and energy networks. Additionally, the city boasts a thriving arts, culture, and food scene making it a hub for unique festivals all year long.
Ascension Parish is an immense collection of diverse histories deserving recognition, celebration, and protection. The city of Gonzales on the east bank of the parish offers suburban living and sits minutes away from both Baton Rouge and the city of Donaldsonville where Teach For America centers its efforts.
Donaldsonville, which sits on the west bank of the parish, is home to a close-knit community of educators and leaders reshaping the role the community plays in the school building. Through innovative partnership, Donaldsonville school leaders, families, and leaders work alongside one another to create sustainable change for children.
East Feliciana Parish
East Feliciana Parish
East Feliciana Parish boasts a rich history that surrounds the rural towns of Jackson and Clinton where Teach For America’s efforts in the parish are centered. Minutes away from Pointe Coupee Parish and the suburban City of Zachary, residents of East Feliciana enjoy the scenic benefits and unique bonds that can be found in Louisiana’s rural areas.
Pointe Coupee Parish
Pointe Coupee Parish
Pointe Coupee (Coo-pee) Parish is one of the oldest settlements in the Mississippi River Valley. Its early French and African influence can still be found today in its friendly people and delicious cuisine. It is the birthplace of Louisiana public education with public schools dating back to the early 1880's. Pointe Coupee’s 22 fresh water lakes promote fishing, boating, and hunting; making it a prime location for vacation. Two of the largest lakes are False River and Old River and both lakes are over 20 miles long.
Pointe Coupee Parish is proud to boast the third oldest Mardi Gras Parade in the state of Louisiana and host four parades every year. The newest addition to our parish parades is the Lundi-Gras Parade that is held at Old River Landing in Batchelor, Louisiana. Enter a greased pig contest, chase a chicken, dance to live Zydeco music, eat great foods, and so much more! Pointe Coupee Parish has so many points of interest and it will appeal to everyone.
“I showed up to work with the belief in mind that there was no challenge too big that couldn't be conquered. My students' LEAP academic index increased from 16 (2020-2021) to 67 (2021-2022)! There is nothing you cannot do when you believe and give your all.”
Teacher Certification and Graduate School
All corps members must take and pass one or more PRAXIS exams, depending on teaching assignments before arriving for institute. Reach out to our staff to ensure that you know which exams you’re required to complete.
While the cost of alternative certification and personal preparation for tests are the responsibility of incoming corps members, support from regional staff along with study guides and resources are available to ensure success throughout the certification process.
Estimated start up and certification costs are $5,000.
Through a partnership with Louisiana State University, second-year corps members may pursue a master’s degree in any subject area tuition-free (does not include the cost of fees). This tuition exemption does not extend to Louisiana State University’s veterinary, law, or medical schools and covers a portion of the costs associated with the university’s professional master’s in business administration.
South Louisiana is home to a diverse group of people and organizations committed to the growth of the Capital region. We have worked with multiple organizations to ensure we maximize our impact from the Walls Project to the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition to Metromorphsis.
Following the shooting of Alton Sterling and the floods of 2016, the racial and economic disparities across our region were more visible than ever before. At the same time, we witnessed an outpour of compassion as neighbors came together to support one another through the shared challenge. The discussions that surfaced over time made our collective progress an even higher priority.
While the State Department of Education works diligently to create progressive policies and structures to support public education, organizations like Urban Congress on African American Males and Dialogue on Race bring members of our community together to understand and solve some of our most complex issues.
We are indeed gaining momentum toward change, but it still requires a greater number of committed leaders to work alongside us. By joining the movement in South Louisiana, you have the chance to contribute to a number of efforts driving historic change in our region while being a part of growing community centered around our unique culture. From crawfish boils to festivals, bringing your leadership to the South Louisiana region is an opportunity you will never forget.
Your generosity helps create a future in which all children in South Louisiana can learn, lead, and thrive.